Stuck

A group of 5 of my friends and I just finished Stuck by Jennie Allen.  It was such a real, and honest and deep study.  The group that God brought to my house each Thursday to go through this study was a precious gift.  We all had many places we wer stuck and together we worked through them.  This study is beautifully written and really digs deep into those places you don’t always like to go, but need to!

Jennie is so real and transparent, and extremely passionate about God.  She is completely honest about her struggles and that makes her so easy to relate to.   She is truly a gifted writer that God is using to penetrate the hearts of women who are stuck for one reason or another.

The topics each week hit home with all of us, I think we all struggle with each one in some form or fashion.  The two that hit home the most with us were Mad and Overwhelmed.  With those we spent extra time digging deep and letting God work and reveal our sin.    Jennie has some powerful concepts and new ways of thinking about, and understanding God’s word.  I find myself thinking back to her words often.  Especially her words in the Mad chapter.   Not only does she tell some great stories, provide Bible verses to back everything up, but she asks some very hard questions.  She gets right to the point and digs deep to the source of our “stuck” places.  

You will be inspired and challenged and comforted all at once. 

We used the discussion cards each week to allow each of us time to open up and become more transparent.  We could also see God’s work over the weeks that we met. During our last meeting (last week) we shared what God had done within us and what He is continuing to do.  Jennie has lit a spark in each of us, and through her words God is healing our stuck places and leading us closer to Him.  It was a great journey for all of us and we can’t wait to do another one of Jennie’s studies!!

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Idols

God is doing some work on me right now.  It’s good.  It’s a little scary and painful, but good.   I’ve been asking Him for a few  years to help me dig up those things in my heart that do not please Him.  Well, He took me seriously and He is doing it. 

Right now at church we are in a series, called Counterfeit Love.  It’s based on the book “Counterfeit Gods” by Tim Keller.  Our small group is reading the book along with the sermon series and then discussing it every two weeks.  It’s been extremely eye-opening to me.  Not only am I going through this book and the sermon series, but I’m also going through Jennie Allen’s “Stuck” Bible Study with a group of my friends.  All of these things combined are proving to be God’s tools in continuing to shape of my character. 

I think God was tired of seeing me struggle and complain, when He knew the root of the problem all along.  I havent’ been trusting  Him enough, believing Him enough, pursuing Him enough and worst of all, I have been putting other “idols” above Him.   Yuck. 

And the thing is, my heart has been pretty sneaky.  All the things I worry about and focus on are not bad, so they disguised themselves as maybe things I should worry about and should focus on.  It’s all been a lie. 

Now a moment of transparency.  I worry about the silliest things.  I worry that my to-do list hasn’t been done and that bugs me.  I want all of my “to-do’s” done for the day and when they are not, I get uncomfortable, uneasy, frustrated and sometimes a little depressed.  I’m serious.  I have valued myself, to this point, by how much I can get done and accomplish in a day.  If I feel I’ve tackled most of my to-do’s, and the house is clean, and everyone has clean underwear and dinner is ready and tasty, then maybe, just maybe I will feel good for the day. 

Again, not bad things, but the wrong things.  I can search and search, but I do not think I’ll ever find a verse in the Bible that says “Follow Jesus, but first make sure all your to-do’s are finished, the floor is swept, and all the laundry is done and dinner is cooked”.  So why have I been living that way?  I want to control my day and when it doesn’t go how I think it should go, I get upset, and sometimes I take it out on those I love the most.  That’s messed up. 

So the journey continues and God and I are working on getting this idol of control out of my heart.  I am praying like crazy, reading His word and asking Him every morning to help take this junk out of my heart and to replace it with Him.  I am looking at my to-do’s and understanding what is motivating them, and why I want to accomplish them.  I’m trying to let God lead. 

This is not going to be easy, we are talking about years of a bad habits ingrained in my being.  Thankfully, God is strong enough to help me overcome this.  I just have to let Him.

Transparency

I just read a guest post from one of my favorite writers, Jennie Allen.  She also happens to be my pastors’ wife, and my friend.  She wrote this guest post  titled “Called to  Bleed” the other day and it really hit me hard.  God spoke to me through her, so well written, words.  (she has such a gift)  

God has been telling me not to fear my story, my past experiences and my mistakes…..but to use them to help others.

That’s a scary proposition, but I’ve been listening to Him.  For a long time I’ve wanted to hide everything from the outside world.  To keep it to myself (and only those closest to me).  It’s not anyone’s business really, right?  Wrong.   Jennie said exactly what God has been telling me all along.  That my story is His story.  How can I keep that from others?   Who am I to hold onto a story that He is so completely weaved into.    A story that He made beautiful.   

I’ve been scared (ok I still am a little scared) of people judging me and my past decisions.  However, there is only one judge that I should be concerned with, and if I do not share what He has done in my life, how will He judge that? 

He and I are still wrestling with this for now.  It all comes back to trusting Him with everything.  I’m letting go little by little and I know He has big plans for me once I become completely transparent with my life.   When I show all that I have been through and all that He has done for me, it can only help others. 

After I write this post, I will be working on writing “my story” which I plan to read to a group of college women in a few weeks (thanks to my friends Jennie and Jessica).  I’m so excited, a little scared too, but mostly excited to see how God uses my story.  One day maybe I can share my story on here….but for now, I think God is happy with my baby steps.

Jennie Allen

Remember that name, because you’ll probably hear more of it in the somewhat near future.  Jennie Allen, who I have not had the pleasure of meeting yet, is the wife of our new pastor, Zac.  My husband and I recently started attending a new church and we are really enjoying it.  It’s called Austin Bible.

Jennie has done some writing and apparently is going to be doing a lot more.  She is working on publishing a series of Bible studies.  Very cool. 

I started reading her blog about a week ago and I’m really enjoying it.  I thought I’d share it with you so you might be inspired too.  She is real.  She loves God with all of her heart.  And she is just like us.  She has a real life with real frustrations and she makes me feel more normal.  She also has a gift for writing, which helps when you want to write Bible Studies.  🙂  Check out her blog…

Jennie’s Blog